MOSCOW, February 20 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s opposition presidential candidates refuse to sign a social pact for fair elections proposed by Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu.
“The Communist Party believes that a social pact to save the elections from lawlessness and swindling is necessary. But it cannot be concluded without its principles being jointly developed. Otherwise the agreement will serve as a screen for new abuses,” the party’s leader, Gennady Zyuganov, said in his statement faxed to Itar-Tass on Monday.
Moreover, he expressed confidence that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin nominated for presidency by United Russia should also be a signatory to the pact.
“He should announce his readiness to bear responsibility for observance of the agreement for two reasons: first, as the leader of United Russia, which is still the ruling party enjoying maximally wide opportunities and second, as the head of the executive branch of power responsible for the conduct of elections in strict compliance with the effective legislation,” he said.
Zyuganov accused the pact’s initiators of an attempt to foist on the opposition candidates the document, which did not become a result of a civil dialogue and negotiations between parties and was not discussed at roundtable meetings with the public at large. He described that the signing ceremony at the Emergencies Ministry as “an evident mishap” and noted that thus, presidential candidates “are forced to jointly violate the legislative ban for using bodies of executive powers in the interests of political parties.”
Zyuganov called for urgent adoption of “new laws that would revitalize the country’s election system” (the Communist Party had already submitted some draft laws to the State Duma for consideration in advance).
“Only in case of observing these conditions the process of developing the pact for fair elections will be not profanation, but a real mechanism for rehabilitating the social and political situation,” he said.
The chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, “principally refused” to appear at the Emergencies Ministry.
“The authorities act cynically and always violate the rules. The Emergencies Ministry is not that level, why is it the Emergencies Ministry?” Zhirinovsky’s election headquarters chief, Vladimir Ovsyannikov, told Itar-Tass.
“All rules are fixed in the legislation and this is just a piece of paper meaning nothing,” he said. “This is cynicism and nonsense.”
Self-nominated candidate, billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov said he would not sign the document expressing confidence that all candidates, including Vladimir Putin in person, should sign such pacts.
“My electioneering agents will not sign the paper,” he told a regional news conference.
As for the candidate from Just Russia, Sergei Mironov, he planned to visit the Emergencies Ministry, which will host the signing ceremony. “But it is not the fact that he would sign the document. No final decision has been made so far,” the candidate’s agents said.
The chief of Putin’s election headquarters, film director and parliamentarian Stanislav Govorukhin is expected to attend the signing ceremony.